Catholic prelates protest plans to extend Israeli security wall
October 24, 2012
Catholic leaders in the Holy Land have expressed firm opposition to a plan to extend an Israeli security wall through the Cremisan Valley, near Jerusalem.
The proposed wall would separate the residents of the village of Beit Jala from their agricultural lands, the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries in the Holy Land (ACOHL) pointed out. The wall would also split the lands of two local Salesian communities, and make the entrance to a Catholic school lthere “look like a military camp surrounded by checkpoints.”
The ACOHL statement denied reports that the Catholic Church has approved plans for the new wall. The statement noted that the wall would adversely affect the 58 Christian families of Beit Jala, aggravate the problems of poverty and unemployment in the Palestinian village, and increase the pressure for Christians to flee from the Holy Land.
The ACOHL statement was endorsed by 22 Catholic prelates and priests, headed by Archbishop Fouad Wal, the Latin-rite Catholic Patriarch of Jerusalem; and Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the head of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land.